Lack of sportsmanship is vulgar and tiresome

England’s young lions won praise across Europe after making it to the final of a major international tournament for the first time in 55 years. What didn’t go down so well was the behaviour of some of their fans – or of the British government.

The drunken louts, the booing of opponents’ anthems, the racist abuse of the three players who missed penalties, prompted plenty of continental reflection on a perennial English problem – and on and whether politicians were making it worse.

“Brexit has opened the floodgates, reinforced the feeling – overlaid by a rhetoric of English superiority – that it’s OK to be racist,” wrote Libération. “Of course, if England had won, Boris Johnson would surely have found a way to associate it with victory.”

La Repubblica described Sunday night as “the darkest in English football”. Blick said England “waved goodbye to a lot of respect from the rest of Europe”. For Germany’s Die Zeit, England’s chauvinism was “more visible than its progressive side”.

El País said Sunday’s events and the political posturing that preceded it revealed deeper truths about England, as both a team and a country. “What happens with England when it comes to football happens with other things, too,” it said.

“England is a powerful, advanced and often generous nation, a pioneer in disciplines from science to art and thought. But it is also a petulant country, incapable of accepting its own limitations.”

Is English petulance, meanwhile, to blame for the fact that while many EU countries are already recognising UK vaccination certificates for quarantine-free travel, Britain is still only accepting vaccines administered in the UK, by the NHS?

Whatever, a summer holiday in Britain looks unlikely for EU residents – including British citizens, many of whom have not seen their families for more than a year.

The EU27’s vaccine certificate is now up and running for travel inside the bloc, albeit with a few hiccups. Britain’s government, once more, seems determined to mark its post-Brexit difference. (Jon Henley, Europe correspondent, The Guardian 15 July 2021)

My comment: I couldn’t believe the boo-ing of the Italian national anthem
and the repeated booing of the young black players. But it was always thus – bad upbringing and education from generation to generation. If my sons had been party to this behaviour I would have disciplined them. That’s what father are partly for. But then the fathers probably behaved similarly. Plus ca change…..

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